How to Make a St. Louis Staycation the Best Ever

When my homegirl Danyelle of The Cubicle Chick told me that she was rounding up the #STLChicks for a St. Louis staycation at Marriott St. Louis Grand, I got on board immediately. Danyelle hosts the best events. They’re fun, educational, and they connect you with the right people at the right time. It was actually her blog conference 5 years ago, my first blog conference, that pushed me to approach blogging seriously.


So, I packed up my favorite weekender bag, tossed on a comfy outfit, and headed downtown last weekend. I knew the trip would be a great opportunity for connecting with fellow influencers. And, I knew we would have a blast the entire time. What I didn’t anticipate was feeling completely transported in my own city, in a hotel so near to my house. But, I did. Today, I’m reflecting on the crucial things that made this St. Louis staycation such an enjoyable trip.


1. Choose a hotel that suits your style. Aesthetics matter to me. And, the Marriott St. Louis Grand is a fashionable gal’s haven. First, it’s housed in a beautiful historic building with an exterior that’s pleasing to the eye and also perfect for outfit photos. Second, the hotel’s redesigned interior is modern and minimalist and swanky, all at the same time.

marriott-st-louis-grand-1cmarriott-st-louis-grand-3c marriott-staycation-in-my-room-c

2. Choose a location that excites you. St. Louis city is a defining touchstone in every image I share on this blog. What can I say? I’m a city gal. And, the Marriot St. Louis Grand is nestled in the heart of downtown St Louis. I simply stepped outside into the following dreamy cityscape.


And, here’s the view from my room on the 18th floor:


3. Choose a hotel that has all the amenities to satisfy the needs of your trip. This recent getaway was a girl’s trip organized around a special networking event for influencers hosted by Danyelle. That event, which drew about 20 local bloggers, took place in one of the Marriott St. Louis Grand’s private dining rooms. We had bites. We had drinks. We had all the elements necessary for a good time. The following morning, the #STLChicks ended our trip with a special breakfast.

St. Louis Staycation marriott-st-louis-grand-breakfast-1c

4. Choose fellow travelers who inspire you. On this trip, I had the absolute pleasure of spending the weekend with fellow digital-savvy influencers. We talked about goals. We shared knowledge. We encouraged each other. We made magic together.


By the way, if you’re not already following these women, get to know them:

Danyelle Little of The Cubicle Chick

Angel Watkins of Angel Watkins

Shaquan Grove of Coach Shaquan

Brandy Butler of Brandy Butler Online

Winnie Caldwell of The Wire Hanger by Winnie

Lakesha Brown of Uncommon Chick


Disclosure: This trip was hosted by Marriott St. Louis Grand. Our accommodations were provided free of charge for review purposes. All of the opinions and ideas are my own.

Is Sandals the Most Accommodating Resort in the Caribbean?

Sandals Grande St Lucian 2c

I recently returned from an end-of-summer vacay in St. Lucia with my husband. We opted for an all-inclusive experience and chose to stay at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian. While all-inclusive luxury usually puts most travelers at ease, it causes me great anxiety for one reason. Food! I’m a strict vegan, and I have to be because consuming some animal products makes me physically ill, sometimes for up to a week. So, one bad meal could take a trip from enjoyable to disastrous within minutes. Traveling vegan isn’t easy, but the Sandals Grande St. Lucian made it the easiest trip ever for this vegan.

Sandals Grande St Lucian Couples 13c

To be safe, I usually eat a raw vegan diet when I travel. From the moment I checked into Sandals, though, I knew something was different. I was actually asked about any dietary requirements, and then referred to a culinary concierge. In addition, the woman holding down the concierge desk quickly put me at ease with these words, “we’ve got you covered. You’ll have plenty to eat here.” And, the best part is she was right.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 1c

It was time to put the Sandals Grande St. Lucian to the test. My first stop was the Olde London Pub. I communicated my dietary restrictions to a waiter who insisted that I speak with the chef. What I enjoyed most about the exchanges about food with Sandals staff is that I never felt like my vegan diet was a problem or a challenge. Furthermore, the chefs I met seemed delighted to prepare something special and off menu for me.

Traveling Vegan, Sandals Grande St Lucian 3c

I spent most of my time in the Caribbean Village portion of the resort. The Bayside Restaurant was a must-stop for breakfast and some dinners. Often, resorts cater to the tastes of foreign visitors at the expense of local cuisine. At Bayside, though, I was thrilled to see typical island fruits—passion fruit, sugarcane, papaya, and coconut—available. In addition, the chefs created the most tasty surprises like the meal shown below. I must shout-out staffers like Julie, who I believe was a food manager there, who always went the extra mile to ensure I had a satisfying meal at Bayside. I’m especially grateful to the evening chef as well for whipping me up a vegan soup and a tasty entree with tofu. I wish I had a photo to share, but I was so eager to dig in that I never took one.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 6c

I also especially enjoyed eating at Barefoot by the Sea. One of the best meals on the entire trip was this simple vegan curry vegetable wrap that packed serious flavor. It was the closest thing to an island roti that I’ve had in a long time.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 4c

For travelers with special needs, whether those be dietary or something else, a resort willing to accommodate those no matter what it takes is such a treasure. Food accommodations truly made it easy for me to actually relax on vacation.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Venus tie-dye dress 3c

With the worry about food gone, I felt free to enjoy all the Sandals luxuries, like the beautiful white-sand beach the resort rests on.

Sandals Grande St Lucian, Venus sunny yellow bikini 6c

I was able to dance all night with Nyah, another superstar Sandals staffer, to the sweet sounds of live reggae at the Palladium Night Club. I was able to sip on an extra cocktail or two at the evening after parties at the Pub. In addition to its beautiful landscape, Sandals won me over because of its incredible employees who don’t even work for tips. Tipping isn’t allowed at the resort.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 9c

Traveling to a resort? Pack smartly to meet resort dress codes. For examples, check out the following vacation style posts:

Beach Style

Resort Casual Style (maxi dress)

Resort Casual Style (sundress)

Resort Casual Style (versatile swimsuit cover/dress)

Resort Evening Style

Sending Off the Summer in Super Colorful Style

I did an interview recently and was asked to share my style motto. I first thought that I didn’t have one. Finally, I figured if I had to say, it would be to live colorfully because everyday I seek out colorful moments. Additionally, my style often plays a significant role in that. This summer, I really played up my colorful style and can’t wait to do that during the fall and even winter too.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 1c

Dress: c/o Venus (only $14)

Earrings: Kendra Scott (love this new style)

Flip-flops: Old Navy

Sunglasses: Tory Burch c/o St. Louis Premium Outlets

Lip: Mac “Rebel” lipstickMac “Currant” lip pencil

Caribbean resort style 6c

I wanted this racerback dress the moment I saw it. Why? It came in the most exuberant fuchsia color. Its neckline is also one of my favorite silhouettes ever. It’s only $14 too and worth every penny.

Caribbean resort style 1c

I’ve worn the dress before in the city (see that post here). I essentially made it city chic by pairing it with a chambray shirt and my favorite statement sandals. This dress, however, was made for an island getaway, so I took it there.

Sandals Grande St Lucian 2c

I think I was right too. The dress was an especially perfect choice to throw on and wear to breakfast after an early morning dip in the white-sand beaches of St. Lucia.

Caribbean resort style 2c


A Perfect Sundress for Floating on the Ocean

I was so serious when I said I packed swimsuits, cover-ups, and dresses only for my trip to St. Lucia. I enjoy the freedom of just throwing on a dress to get ready. So, the J.Crew Sundress in Ratti Happy Cat Print, a spontaneous bargain buy (read why here), was a perfect option to have with me. It’s colorful and breezy.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, J.Crew SUNDRESS IN RATTI® HAPPY CAT PRINt 1c

Dress: J.Crew (on sale)

Flats: Madewell (on sale)

Clutch: Alaina Marie Bait Bag

Earrings: c/o Kendra Scott (similar)

Sunglasses: Tory Burch c/o St. Louis Premium Outlets

Lip: Mac “Heroine” lipstickMac “Heroine” lip pencil

Sandals Grande St Lucia, J.Crew SUNDRESS IN RATTI® HAPPY CAT PRINt 3c

This pier over the ocean in the Caribbean Village of the resort was my favorite spot. It’s picture perfect and more importantly, so serene. When I wasn’t in the water, I enjoyed floating above it here.


My J.Crew sundress inspired me to reach for a couple accessories I rarely wear because it’s such a fun base to accent. First of all, my Kendra Scott Fran earrings in pink agate (seen anchoring a colorblocked look here) complemented the print of the dress so well. Furthermore, my Alaina Marie Bait Bag that I’ve never used until now, was the perfect color and size for blending in. I purchased the bag on mega sale in either J.Crew or Anthropologie last year.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, J.Crew SUNDRESS IN RATTI® HAPPY CAT PRINt 5c

 Location: Sandals Grande St. Lucian

Sandals Grande St Lucia, J.Crew SUNDRESS IN RATTI® HAPPY CAT PRINt 4c

A Tie-Dye Maxi Dress for Fabulous Resort Style

I’m back in St. Louis now but wishing that my mornings were still starting like they did in St. Lucia. I get up early in the morning to catch the sunrise when on island. There were so many perfect spots to do that from too. For those casual days just moving around the resort, I relied on one-piece wonders like this tie-die maxi dress for effortless resort style. See how I’ve worn it before in this post.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Venus tie-dye dress 1c

Dress: c/o Venus (on sale $26)

Earrings: Kendra Scott (love this new style)

Flip-flops: Old Navy (coral reef neon)

Sunglasses: Kate Spade (similar J.Crew style)

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Resort Style

In addition to the modern tie-dye print, the dress also features a halter neckline, my favorite silhouette on a dress. It’s so hip and cool that it doesn’t require much styling. I’m actually wearing it with basic flip-flops.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Venus tie-dye dress 3c

Mirro mirror on the wall. I instantly became a fan of mirrored sunglasses when I found this Kate Spade pair for so much less at Ross. The style is almost identical to the J.Crew Betty sunglasses. As a huge fan of oversized sunnies, I’m seriously considering getting a pair of the super popular Quay Australia ‘Sugar and Spice’ sunglasses.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Venus tie-dye dress 5c

Without a doubt, my Kendra Scott “Caroline” earrings are my most frequently worn pair of Kendra Scott earrings ever. They just go with everything for every occasion.

Sandals Grande St Lucia, Venus tie-dye dress 4c